• Dennis Cogbill

Five Keys to Implementing Smart Home Effectively

Across the apartment industry, forward-thinking owners and operators are either implementing smart home technology or are considering it.

They know the resident interest is there, and they know the right solutions and providers can produce rent growth.

But before diving into the smart home pool, you would be wise to study your options carefully and prepare thoroughly.

Here are five high-level keys to consider before implementing smart home into your communities.

Make sure the smart home provider emphasizes cybersecurity. Even if residents are enthusiastic about the ease and convenience smart home technologies can bring to their homes, they may still be skittish about the threat of hackers. Don’t be afraid to aggressively question potential supplier partners about their security practices.

One general recommendation would be to make sure any provider has achieved SOC 2 certification from the American Institute of CPAs. This certification means a company has met certain thresholds concerning security, availability, processing integrity, confidentiality and consumer-data privacy.

Ensure you have centralized control. When associates have access to the smart home devices in a unit from a central dashboard, this can benefit an apartment community in multiple ways. For instance, associates can adjust the temperature remotely in a vacant unit, resulting in lower utility costs. Team members also can easily lock and unlock the doors of homes for residents who may have accidentally locked themselves out or lost their fob.

Get resident buy-in. A recent report from the National Multifamily Housing Council and Kingsley Associates demonstrates residents’ general enthusiasm for smart home solutions. The report notes that more than 70 percent of residents say they are “interested” in smart thermostats while another 6.6 percent say they wouldn’t rent a home without one.

Still, as enthusiastic as residents may be, operators will need to work to get their complete buy-in before implementation by proactively addressing issues such as cybersecurity and privacy.

Use a service model rather than a product model. You don’t want your onsite technicians and leasing associates to be overwhelmed trying to fix malfunctioning smart home equipment. That’s not what you hire them to fix. And you want resident concerns to be addressed as quickly as possible.

So make sure you implement smart home systems that are based on a service model and have technicians available to troubleshoot any problems that arise.

Consider how future-proof your smart home system is. We all know how fast technology moves and improves. Given the often-dizzying rate of innovation that’s taking place, you want a smart home infrastructure that can make room for future upgrades and improvements and not force you to replace an entire system that’s suddenly grown outdated.

Finally, make sure you attend this year’s Multifamily Innovation

Conference – Atlanta (MICA) Feb. 5-6 and the “Innovation Implementation Deep Dive – Smart Home” session. The session will take place at 3 p.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 5, and feature a live on-stage critique of a smart home provider’s offerings.

We hope to see you in Atlanta in February so we can hear your input!

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